Breast cancer

Affected by breast cancer? Join this group to share experiences and ask questions to people who understand what you're going through.

Chemo tomorrow

I will beat this
Posted by
I start my chemo tomorrow, 6mths fect & 8 weeks radiotherapy. I've had my mastectomy which has caused me no problems except needing draining. As for the lymph node removal it's abit harder. All along I've been strong through this and surgery, but this morning I was sick. I've only had 2 toast for breakfast, my head is thumping and I'm in tears. The chemo is scaring me more than anything . This is all because I'm scared of the unknown
Posted by

You will be fine, it won't necessarily be easy but it is doable. My oncologist told me to just get on with it, a bit harsh perhaps, but it worked for me.  I had 4 EC and 4 Tac with different side effects for each.  What I will say is that now that 6 months is over its like it never happened.  I know I was ill, I know it was hard but its done now and I seem to have forgotten about it.   I was much much worse about my surgery but thats done too so now radiotherapy is taking all my fears :).

What I have learnt reading these forums is that NO experience is the same so you may well not get all of the side affects you read about.  I did lose my hair after 17 days but my nails are fine (with no black polish) and in fact seem to be stronger than they were :)

Take every thing they offer you and the other thing I realised is that they only know your side effects if you tell them!! I was always very upbeat with my oncologist, perhaps showing him a bit more of my upset would have helped. 

aroma mum
Posted by

Dear I will beat this, its normal to be scared and your body is just  showing you what you need right now. If 2 pieces of toast is enough then just have 2 pieces of toast. I found mashed banana comforting and a glass of milk but just choose what you fancy.

All people respond differently to chemo so please don't be worried about some of the experiences you read on this site, we are all different and we all have our own individual bodies. It is doable.

I hope the chemo is kind to you I always tried to think of it as a friend rather than a foe after all it will help you in the long term........

I hope that your chemo is kind to you and in the words of Charlie and the chocolate factory's Violet Bodegard "Keep your eyes on the prize"

Warm wishes


Posted by

It is the unknown that scares us, but once first session is over you know the actual treatment isn't so bad and takes just over an hour, well mine does, but I do sometimes have wait 3 hours after my appointment time to get into the ward to have it done.  I have learnt to take sandwiches and some snacks with me and a drink, a book or something to do is essential.  Although they do bring tea round if you happen to be there when the trolly is passing.  But your hospital maybe very different with not so long a waiting time.  I have learnt to live with this as they do not rush you when you are having your treatment and some people are in there for far longer treatments than me and probably you, so I know they give me the time when I am there.

They will give you anti-sickness tablets and take those as suggested even if you don't feel sick, having the tablets is the reason you don't.  So important.   I also have steroids for 3 days which also act as anti-sickness and keep your appetite up, so again I stock up on snacks, drinks as I find these make me very hungry and I need snacks, albeit as healthy as possible to watch weight, but I do find fig rolls can help with any signs of constipation, and drinking lots helps this too.  I haven't particularly suffered with this.  But as kipper said we are all different and get different side effects and cope in different ways. 

Peppermint tea, ginger tea and green tea are fairly refreshing and do help any indigestion or queasy feelings that you may have.

My worst side affect apart from been, very, very tired, so short activity then rest or snooze, your body will tell you so listen to it, is my mouth has been very sore in the second week, some ulcers, taste buds disappearing, and a burning hot dry mouth, but lots of mouth washes you can get for this, ask you chemo nurse or your GP who will make sure you have no infections.  Difflam which you can buy over the counter at a chemist is great for taking off the soreness so you can eat and drink easier, this doesn't last long and the more of a routine I have got into the less I have suffered with chemo 2,3,and 4.  Buy yourself a soft toothbrush or a children's toothbrush and tooth paste if it gets too bad, this helps a lot and I use chrosdly (probably not the right spelling)none alcoholic mouthwash also over the counter.

So really the best advise is to get tomorrow out of the way, keep a daily note of your side effects so you can plan for the next session, 'cos you will forget, read the normal side effects on all the tablets they give you this helps you not to panic if something is happening that you were not expecting, and as Kipper said report all back to the chemo nurse or oncologist they are very quick to change tablets etc. if necessary.  They will look after you, trust them.

One really important piece of advice I got from this forum and I have had many, is to see your first 3 chemo treatments as climbing a hill, once y0u get there the next three are all down hill you are in a good routine.  I had my fourth session yesterday so definitely on the way to the end, of course I have had moments when it all seemed far too much, but you know it is doable and does go quickly, build in some treats for week 3, lunch or coffee with friends or family, visits, nails as kipper says, get them painted black, I do the week before, you will find little things suddenly mean a lot, but still get rest in this week before your blood test.

Lots of warm wishes for tomorrow and let us know when you can how it went.   Everything crossed for you.

Posted by
Hi I will beat this, first of all good luck for tomorrow, I am due to have my 2nd FEC on Friday, I would mirror what others have said, do what your body tells you, sleep when tired, eat what you want when you want, drink plenty of water. I am going into my 2nd one, telling everyone that I will be wiped out for about 5 days, then gradually coming back to normal over the following 2 weeks, I have actually felt "normal" for the last 8 days, keep taking the anti sickness drugs, my hospital gave me 5 days supply, but went back to docs as still feeling sick, took for about another 5 days then accidentally forgot to take one day and realised I felt ok. This is totally do able and I keep thinking about planning for my "I kicked cancers butt" party!! Good luck and hugs xoxo
Posted by

Hi, I was just like that before my mastectomy, but what was frightening me wasn't losing my breast, it was the radioactive isotope injection beforehand.  I had read horror stories on the web and got into a real stew about it.  In the end, of course, it was not nearly as bad as I expected.  Most things haven't been as bad as I expected, from having a broken leg set, to childbirth, to the MX so I tell myself now that I just have to go with the flow, and not get worked up beforehand.  I'm due to start FEC in two weeks.  We're all in this together, so be kind to yourself, and plan a little treat for when you feel up to it.

Best of luck! xx

Posted by

It's crap and horrible but you will get through it because you have to.  I have done 4 FEC and 3 out of 4 Tax. A lot of the side effects they told me about i didn't get.  I suppose its like when you read the label inside an aspirin packet and they tell you all kinds of terrible things that can happen (but usually don't).

I just got a date for my mastectomy (had the chemo first) so am freaking out about drains.  I was v traumatised by hair loss but now it's coming back I find other things to worry about!

Bonne Courage!  You can do it!


Posted by

Just to add, yes mouth side effects worst for me too.  Take the anti sickness pills (even if they cause constipation).  Use mouthwash, clean your teeth a lot, eat pineapple.

I did find I felt tired but generally it's the second week that's worst.  Week three you feel like you're getting back to normal and then they poison you again.

Make sure you get all the prescriptions filled in advance so you don't have to go to the chemist if you feel bad.  We have an extra cancer corner in addition to our normal bathroom stuff now.



Bongo 56
Posted by
Hi Caroline The mastectomy isn't as bad as you are imagining. I only had 1 drain and I used a bottle gift bag to carry it around in , it might be worth taking one into hospital I had to use a carrier bag I had packed to send dirties home in. Make sure you do your exercises especially if you need radiotherapy as you will need to be able to raise your arm during treatment. Don't let the operation spoil your Christmas! 🎅 Alison
Posted by
I hope I can be of some kind of help to a lot of you out there. I was diagnosed march 2012. First ever mammogram (before I was 50) luckily. Routine. Just got called up early (I was 50 in May) 2012. I've had other medical problems and a liver scare the year before which were nothing. Nothing could prepare me for the year ahead. I'm a positive person and a half full not empty person. After call back I was told. I had two areas that were cancer. The word rang through my head and I asked am I going to die. Nurse piped up not from this - but you will one day!!! I cried constantly for 3 weeks every single day without fail. I wad booked for surgery in March and told that a wle for both areas was possible. Then radiotherapy. Ok. I'd come to terms with it. When biopsies back the stages were worse and told the Oncology appt was made. He was lovely. Told me as I was young ( yeah right) chemo would be my best chance of cure. Cure was the ultimate word. He told me I'd have to have my long locks cut and chemo wasn't great. I cried again as everything went in two week cycles. He looked at me and 'you are going to be alright'. I clung to that. So having been told chemo would start on my 50 th birthday, he postponed to the following week. Surgery had gone really well. Sore and 4 lymph nodes removed as 1 a bit dodgy I recovered physically well I had 5 x FEC used cold cap after having my hair cut off but unfortunately after 2nd FEC day 16 my hair went. I managed to keep a fringe and a back bit (like a monk),,!!! Had load of scarves false eyelashes and some weird eyebrows for a while which now makes me laugh. 5 FEC as I couldn't have last one as too Ill. 3 blood transfusions n several stays in the wonderful marsden sutton and most time in bed. Ok so then rads was a walk in park for 25 sessions u do cook after this but creams potions and dressings good. So that sounds like hell right. Here I am 1 year after rads finished back at my normal job being my normal self have had one year mammogram which all ok and my hair is shoulder length and I look normal. 5 year tamoxifen job done. Now this is the person who sobbed saying I can't do this. You ruddy can. Believe in the professionals. Go with the flow. Cry like a baby. Think you look ugly. Take help when people offer. Don't be proud. I had fantastic support around me but chose to be quite private. You ca n do this really u can. I don't post a lot but have a couple of special people i have met along the way that I still see. I just wanted to say when u are at your lowest look at the positive posts. They really helped me along the way x
Posted by
hi Jackie, I know how you feel, it's like a roller coaster into the unknown isn't it. I've so far had one of my first FEC-T, and like you at 12 o clock today I will be having my 2nd one. If I had to sum it up if would be a mix of bad morning sickness, chronic hangover and food poisoning. Try and eat a little before and if you like a cup of tea or coffee have it, if you're anything like me it will taste gross for a week or so after. Take some company or something to pass the time you may be in for hours. Suck boiled sweets as you get a nasty taste in your mouth and take a large bottle of water, it will flush the chemo through your bladder, don't want a bladder infection on top of everything else. Everything you eat on chemo day will proberly horrid for life, you will associate it with feeling sick, so don't eat your favourite food. I had the following side effects:- Spongy slimy tongue and mouth- brush teeth 3-5 times a day use corsodyl mouthwash. Tiredness - rest and sleep but try and stay in a routine. Sickness- take anti sickness drugs they give you, even if you don't feel sick. Eat anything with ginger or bland food little and often. Heartburn- was the worst thing, my oncologist prescribed meds to take next time. I also had constipation during the first few days then the oppersite for a few days after. I then had aches in my legs on week two but this too passed. My scalp felt sensertive on day 15 and my day 16 it was coming out in handfuls, I sobbed as my husband shaved off my long dark hair, but you do get used to it with the help of wigs and scarves. I felt back to my normal self by day 6, no more daily injections or drugs, taste came back too. Remember to plan fun stuff for week 3, I've been out for meals and Christmas shopping. Please don't worry, this whole cancer thing is tough but doable. I hope you get on ok, if you feel upto it, keep in touch, we can exchange tips xx Sara x
Posted by

Hi Jackie, I started my first of six fect Chemo treatment on Monday. It went actually a lot better than I had imagined! I had the treatment at 3.30pm took 45 minutes. Then at 5pm I went home. I felt absolute fine up until about 7pm,then I felt like I had the worst hangover ever, my head was very sore and I was sick quite a lot. It was quite a rough night. I managed to have a good sleep, then in the morning I woke up and had my breakfast and within 5 minutes that was back up. I then went back to bed and slept for three hours and when I woke up I felt like someone had changed my body while I was sleeping!! I felt really good! I had two slices of toast, cups of tea, later on had a bowl of pasta, then more toast and lots of fluid and lots of rich tea biscuits! Had a lovely shower and even managed to do some house work!! Today I have woke up and feel good again! I would defiantly take the anti sickness tablets they are a blessing! I was really nervous to how I would feel after the treatment. For my next treatment I now know what I should feel and how long I will feel rubbish for! You have got to think that's the first one over and only 5 more to go!! Be strong my darling and we are going through the same treatment at the same time so I'm here if you need to talk!! best Wishes xxxxxxx 

Posted by

Hi Jackie hopefully by now you will have had your first chemo experience and found it not as bad as you feared.  i had round five of six yesterday and at the outset my greatest fear was that I would become ill and in need of an ambulance.  as i live alone I worried so much about whether i would be able to do that!  thankfully I have been ok, only one scary episode which soon passed.  I have so far not experienced some of the side effects, and,like Kipper, my nails are actually better and stronger than they were.

I have learnt to listen to" my team" -which now includes medical people, friends old and new including those who have done this before, and, of course the people on here.  You've been given some great advice - I think prepare for what might happen but accept it might not.  Everyone is different.  Don't suffer in silence, apparantly everyone begins on the same drugs but these are adjusted.  Your medical team is there for you - so speak up - there is some amazing stuff availabe.  Another thing I did was keep a diary - making sure *I noted the positives.  looking back now its lovely to find something pleasant also happened.

With your surgeries you have come through so much and you will find the strength to cope with this.  I see it as a bargain - the deal is a few weeks of feeling rough/exhausted to ensure more years of feeling great!  Text frm a friend yesterday who is five years down the line. "get through this and the world is yours!" a comforting thought!  finally - and I feel i've rambled on a bit - I was struck by the way you said I can't do this and immediatley several voices shouted back,pantomime style OH YES YOU CAN! which struck me as typical of this topsy turvy, strange, sad, uplifiting, crazy world we are in.

take care and let us know how you get on, xx

Posted by
Hi I will beat this !!

I truly hope your first treatment went without too much stress and discomfort and that you are now home recovering. I had my first chemo FEC last Thursday and today I am just starting to feel a little bit normal again so I'm hoping that the first week was the worst. I have suffered massively with tiredness beyond anything I could imagine and heartburn was excruciating but the dr prescribed me tablets for that and is now not as bad.
My first evening home I felt very very sick but this was short lived with all the anti sickness so make sure you take everything.
I'm thinking of you this evening
Love Andrea x
I will beat this
Posted by
Hi ladies, my chemo lasted 3hrs. I got home about 4.30 this afternoon. I got the metal taste in my mouth almost immediately. I've had a very mild headache since about 6pm. Just taken my anti sickness pill as advised, going to take 2 paracetamol hoping my headache don't get much worse. On the whole I'm feeling rather good. Xxx